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The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2015

The albums that moved us in 2015
This is the music that moved us in 2015

It was a year of powerful records. Of loud guitars and brazen beats, of electronic tapestries and vocal abandon. It was a year of personal introspection and rallying cries for social change. It was a year when music felt inextricably tied to the world around us. When it felt more important than it had in a long time. Like we’ve said before, to narrow 12 months of incredible music down to a “top 15 albums of 2015” list is to exclude dozens of other worthy releases. This year, we had 26 writers and photographers cite a collective 82 albums as their favorites – you can view everybody’s top fives here, and I know fully well that had I asked The Key crew to give me top tens, I’d be easily looking at quadruple the titles. But we’ll go deep when our annual Year-End Mania roundup launches tomorrow. Today we take the long view and explore what rose to the surface of consensus in 2015, from the expressive moments of Kamasi Washington, Joanna Newsom and Jamie xx, to the pop permutations of Carly Rae Jepsen and Grimes , rock and/or roll from Courtney Barnett and Alabama Shakes, Philly representation from The Districts, Waxahatchee and of course, Hop Along‘s incredible breakout LP Painted Shut, which alongside the great Kendrick Lamar rose right to the top of our voting. Let’s recap the year. 
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Alabama Shakes amaze the Mann Center with rock and soul

Alabama Shakes | Photo by John Vettese
Alabama Shakes | Photo by John Vettese

“GODDAMN!” was the word a man behind me exclaimed throughout last night’s Drive-By Truckers and Alabama Shakes show at the Mann Center. I would concur with his sentiment, as both bands amazed with all-out rock and soul sets.

Kicking off the night, Drive-By Truckers ebbed and flowed with scorchers like “Let There Be Rock,” and political songs such as the new “What It Means.”

It was a co-headlining show, with the Truckers stretching out to 75 minutes, but the true stars of the show were Alabama Shakes, whose performance evoked soul, rock, and gospel with fluidity. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Alabama Shakes at Mann Center, Joie Kathos at Red Bull Sound Select show at Underground Arts, Vita and the Woolf at Johnny Brenda’s and more

 

Alabama Shakes | Photo by Brantley Gutierrez
Alabama Shakes | Photo by Brantley Gutierrez

Alabama Shakes released Sound & Color, one of the most popular pure-rock albums of the year, back in April. They continue to support this album with a show at the Mann Center tonight along with specials guests Drive-By Truckers. Led by talented and overall badass lead singer Brittany Howard, the band matured with their second album, exploring new realms of pop and soul with relentless energy. It won’t be long before they are selling out arena shows, so you might want to catch them tonight while they are still playing somewhat personal venues. For more information on tonight’s show, go to the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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MusicNotes from the XPN Morning Show: Watch Dawes perform on David Letterman, Grateful Dead’s last concerts will be on pay-per-view, & Bonnaroo reveals schedule.

sunjournal.com
sunjournal.com

“Dawes is pretty much all you need in a rock ‘n’ roll band.”

The words of David Letterman in regards to one of his favorite bands, Dawes who performed on The Late Show with David Letterman last night. Watch Dawes (who will perform at this year’s XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru) sing “Things Happen” from their forthcoming 4th album, “All your Favorite Bands,” due out in June. Continue reading →